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Here are four of our favorite travel cards, whether you’re new to travel rewards or a veteran with elite travel status. (Getty Image)
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Which travel credit card is right for you in 2019?

Would you like to travel more in 2019? If so, you don’t have to fork over funds to see the world. For frequent fliers, there are a few travel reward credit cards you might want to consider applying for this year to take advantage of special introductory bonus offers, flight perks and other annual or partner benefits that make travel easy and enjoyable.

But first an important disclaimer. When you apply for a new credit card, there are a few basic housekeeping items you should take care of to ensure your financial health is stable. The first and most basic requirement is to know your credit score and financial history. If you’re new to establishing credit, you’ll want to start with a no-fee, entry-level card that doesn't require established credit history. The second piece of advice is to pay off your balance in full every month to keep yourself accountable for what you purchase.

Finally, you’ll want to take a step back and analyze how you travel routinely. Do you fly certain airlines or routes? Are there preferred hotels you like to book? Does your home airport have lounges or airport perks that you want to access? These are all important questions to consider before applying for a card.

And if you’re still confused about which card might be right for you, there’s a simple test you can take. The NerdWallet offers a free quiz that easily matches a card to your lifestyle and spending habits. But so far in 2019, there are a few cards that stand out above the rest. Here are our favorite travel cards, whether you’re new to travel rewards or a veteran with elite travel status.

Discover It Miles

Credit Stage: Beginner
Traveler Type: You want to start earning travel points, fast.
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Why we like it? This is a no-fee credit card that gives you 1.5 travel miles for every dollar spent, and Discover will match all the miles you've earned at the end of your first year. That’s a lucrative deal if you put everyday expenses on this card, then pay it off in full every month. Plus, there are no blackout dates for travel when you redeem those points.

Capital One Venture

Credit Stage: Experienced
Traveler Type: You want to boost your travel perks and fly through TSA security.
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Why we like it? Capital One consistently has one of the best travel credit cards year over year, and it’s only adding to the benefits this year. This year, cardholders can book hotel rooms online using Hotels.com and earn 10 times the travel points per every dollar spent. That’s a great deal considering Hotels.com has some of the best last minute booking offers and gives travelers a price-match guarantee on reservations. You also earn 50,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on credit card purchases within the first three months of opening an account, and you can get a $100 credit for either Global Entry or TSA Pre when you purchase the benefit using your Venture card. Do keep in mind that this card comes with an annual fee of $95, but if you use the card frequently and enjoy the flexibility of flying or staying with multiple travel brands, then this cards is for you.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus

Credit Stage: Experienced
Traveler Type: You want flexible flights and a buy-one-get-one option.
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Why we like it? If you live in D.C. and like the flexibility of last-minute flight deals on an airline that doesn’t charge you bag fees, then go with Southwest’s Rapid Rewards card. BWI is a hub for this airline, and there are several flight routes out of Washington-Reagan and Dulles as well. But the main reason to apply for this card is to reach Southwest’s Companion Fare benefit. It’s a buy-one-get-one travel reward for qualified points holders with 110,000 travel points. By simply applying and using this card, you can hit the 60,000 point bonus within the first six months. To understand how this elite travel benefit works, and why it’s so valuable, read this article from The Points Guy. This card does come with an annual fee of $69, but it’s worth paying if you hit the sweet spot of unlimited BYGO flights for a year.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire

Credit Stage: Advanced
Traveler Type: You want VIP-status at hotels, plus flight perks.
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Why we like it? Hilton is a hotel brand found throughout the world and with its new Hilton Honors American Express Aspires Card travelers can earn 150,000 Points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of opening. On top of that, there are tons of other travel perks, like two annual weekend reward nights, a $250 airline credit, $250 Hilton resort statement credit, and up to $100 Hilton on-property credit, plus an opportunity to earn 14 times the points at participating Hilton hotels and resorts. Do keep in mind that the annual fee is $450, which means you’ll want to use these travel benefits, or you’ll lose out on the value of the card.

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